Twenty-five wine experts gathered August 6, 2013 in East Lansing for the 36th annual Michigan Wine Competition. Judges included Peter Bell and Johannes Reinhardt, two of the three winemakers who made “Tierce,” the New York Riesling served at President Obama’s inaugural luncheon in January.

Judges also included two of Michigan’s Master Sommeliers; Doug Frost, who is both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier; and internationally known authors, winemakers and wine educators. Leading the group through the day was food and wine writer Christopher Cook, who judged at the competition for 12 years before becoming its superintendent in 2001. Cook is a judge at wine competitions throughout the United States and abroad.

Riesling has become a strong variety for Michigan — 71 were entered this year, from very dry to very sweet. Riesling has won Best of Class honors 19 times since 2000 — in various categories — and this year won two of the highest awards, for Best Dessert Wine and Best Semi-Dry White Wine.

Veteran judge Dick Scheer, owner of Village Corner wine shop in Ann Arbor, commented on the red wines of the day: “Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Meritage were all worthy of medal consideration, with ripeness complemented by mild tannin and good balance. Thanks to warm growing seasons of late, maturing vines, and talented winegrowing, this was the best cadre of Michigan dry red wines I’ve experienced at a Michigan Wine Competition.”

Roz Mayberry, wine buyer for D&W Fresh Market, remarked, “This year’s wine selection offered a number of lovely surprises: Chardonnays were oakey, but deftly oaked, and more interesting dry roses and Pinot Blancs than ever before. All of this points to the incredible growth in quality and interest in Michigan wines, and to the competence and sense of adventure of Michigan winemakers.”

Fifty-five of the state’s 102 wineries entered a record 450 wines for this year’s competition, which is open only to wine produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. Gold medals were awarded to a wide variety of wines — from bone-dry reds to sweet and luscious dessert wines. At the end of the day, judges awarded the top “Best of Class” awards to six wines from a group of 42 gold medal winners, including six double gold.

Several of our wines showed very well at this year’s competition including one Best of Show winner! Take a look at our award winners below or view the complete list online.

Black Star Farms Wines:

Best of Class and Gold – 2012 Be Dazzled Sparkling Wine

Gold – 2010 Leorie Merlot Cabernet Franc

Silver – 2011 Arcturos Cabernet Franc and 2011 Arcturos Merlot

Bronze – 2011 A Capella Pinot Noir and 2011 Arcturos Pinot Noir

The competition is co-sponsored by the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, which will host a Gold Medal Wine Reception featuring the best wines from the competition this evening. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Visit www.michiganwines.com for more information, and for a complete list of the medal-winning wines.

The competition is also sponsored by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. For more information about the wines and wineries of Michigan, contact the council online, or by phone at 517-241-4468.

Michigan Wine Competition Black Star Farms Double Gold